Saturday, May 26, 2007

Everyone Needs a Little Kira-Kira!

newberyNewbery Challenge 2007

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

2005 Newbery Medal Winner
Main Characters: Katie and Lynn Takeshima
Setting: Move from Iowa to Georgia
Time Period: 1950'-60's?
Plot: Katie’s coming-of-age in rural Georgia, where her Japanese heritage makes her family a target of discrimination, faces financial hardship when sister Lynn becomes bedridden w/ cancer.

Kira-kira is the first Japanese word Katie Takeshima learns as a baby. Translated it means "glittering," but our young heroine Katie constantly misuses it for cars, pets, houses, butterflies, and colored Kleenex. Older sister Lynn clarifies the meaning as a type of see through shimmer more associated with clear-blue eyes, babbling creeks, and translucent Iowan skies.

This is Katie’s first memory before the Japanese-American family is uprooted to rural Georgia. In search of the American dream, they begin working in separate chicken factories owned by mean, Mr. Lyndon. As a chicken "sexer," father becomes known for his accuracy and speed. Mother spends her time, and any extra, as a chicken "slicer."

Now the plot thickens, as Lynn becomes sick, and the family struggles to make ends met. Girls may find this book a bonding experience as kira-kira (colored Kleenexes) will be in use.


Tiffany Norris said...

OK, I'm officially jealous of your Newbery picks! I'm enjoying mine, too, though. Can't wait for Friday!

Anonymous said...

Sounds very interesting ...

It reminded me of where my sixth grade class went for our end of year trip - a chicken slaughter factory! How twisted is that?!

maggie moran said...

I love the Newbery Challenge Tiffany! Reminds me of Dr. Akinson's class and all those books we read. ;P

So what was the moral to the trip, Lesley? Children, this is where your KFC comes from... OR factory work is for the birds? :D

Debi said...

My daughter and I read this one for school earlier this year. I absolutely loved this book...Katie totally stole my heart!

Anonymous said...

Oh..this sounds good!